‘NY Times’ Calls for Firing FEMA Chief–and for an Independent Probe

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By: E&P Staff

A New York Times editorial on Wednesday called for the removal of embattled Michael Brown as head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). It also cast doubt on President Bush’s announcement the day before that the administraton would probe its own handling of the hurricane disaster response.

It’s obvious, the editorial said, “that Michael Brown has met the expectations of those who warned that he would be a terrible director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. This is no time to be engaging in a wholesale change of leadership, but in Mr. Brown’s case there seems to be precious little leadership to lose. He should be replaced with someone who can do the huge job that remains to be done.

“But the questions go way beyond Mr. Brown – starting with why federal officials ignored predictions of a disastrous flood in New Orleans – and the answers can come only from an independent commission. We agree with the Senate minority leader, Harry Reid, Senator Hillary Clinton and others who say that such a panel should follow the successful formula of the 9/11 commission: bipartisan leadership and members chosen by the White House and both parties in Congress on the basis of real expertise. It should have subpoena power and a staff expert enough to find answers and offer remedies.”

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